DIRECTED BY Benoît Jacquot France | 2012 | 100 mn | Historical drama CAST Diane Kruger, Léa Seydoux, Virginie Ledoyen, Xavier Beauvois “Farewell, My Queen,” Benoît Jacquot’s tense, absorbing, pleasurably original look at three days in the life and lies of a doomed monarch, opens with a young woman shaking off sleep and scratching mosquito bites on her arm. It’s a lovely arm, as no less than Marie Antoinette (the well-cast Diane Kruger fromInglorious bastards and national Treasure) proclaims. The young woman is Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux, fittingly recessive), who serves as the queen’s reader. Smitten as well as bitten, Sidonie adores the queen and luxuriates in her good graces. Sidonie also reads plays, novels and even fashion magazines to the queen as Marie Antoinette lazes in her bed at Versailles, pretty as a Fragonard picture while France violently seethes. France hadn’t fully erupted when Sidonie wakes at dawn on July 14, 1789, the day the Bastille fell.
La bataille d'Alger (The Battle of Algiers) DIRECTED BY Gillo Pontecorvo
Algeria | 1966 | 120 mn | Historical drama CAST Saadi Yacef, Jean Martin, Samia Kerbash To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary Algeria’s independence from France we are pleased to present this film as part of our Ciné-classics series. It has been critically celebrated and often taken, by insurgent groups and states alike, as an important commentary on urban guerilla warfare. It occupies the 120th place in list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. Shot in a semi-documentary style just a few years after the end of the events it depicts, the film was nominated three times to the Oscars but was banned in France until the seventies.
Les bien-aimés (Beloved) DIRECTED BY Christophe Honoré France | 2011 | 139 mn | Romantic comedy, Musical CAST Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Ludivine Sagnier, Louis Garrel, Milos Forman
Christophe Honoré's latest film stars some of the greatest actors in contemporary France. Beloved features Catherine Deneuve, who appears alongside her real-life daughter, Chiara Mastroianni, as well as Ludivine Sagnier, who is best-known for her work in François Ozon's racy film Swimming Pool. Make no mistake -- Beloved is about women, although the men are no slouches: Milos Forman, Louis Garrel, Paul Schneider, Michel Delpech and Rasha Bukvic round out the main cast. But Honoré's focus is about love and loss, specifically for the multifaceted and often mysterious female characters we see on screen.
Le chat du rabbin (The rabbi’s cat) DIRECTED BY Joann Sfarr, Antoine Delesvaux
France | 2011 | 100 mn | Animation VOICES Mathieu Almaric, Hasia Herzi, Mohamed Fellag, Karina Testa Based on the best-selling graphic novel by Joann Sfar, The Rabbi's Cat tells the story of a rabbi and his talking cat - a sharp-tongued feline philosopher brimming with scathing humor and a less than pure love for the rabbi's voluptuous teenage daughter. Algeria in the 1930s is an intersection of Jewish, Arab and French culture. A cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and miraculously gains the ability to speak. Along with the power of speech comes unparalleled sardonic wit, and the cat - and filmmaker Sfar - spare no group or individual as they skewer faith, tradition and authority in a provocative exploration of (among other things) God, lust, death, phrenology, religious intolerance, interspecies love, and the search for truth. Rich with the colors, textures, flavors and music of Mediterranean Africa, the film embarks on a cross continent adventure from the tiled terraces, fountains, quays and cafes of colonial Algiers to Maghrebi tent camps, dusty trading outposts, and deep blue Saharan nights in search of a lost Ethiopian city.
Chroniques sexuelles d’une famille d’aujourd’hui (Sexual Chronicle of a French family)
DIRECTED BY Jean-Marc Barr, Pascal Arnold
France | 2012 | 79 mn | Comedy CAST Mathias Melloul, Valérie Maës, Stephan Hersoen
Too many American movies find it hilarious when teenagers in all sorts of ways rush to lose their virginity. Sexual Chroniclestakes that primary objective more seriously. It aims to break the taboo and show sex as it really is: banal. At least that’s one conclusion viewers may reach after seeing this tale of young Romain and his brother, sister, mother, father and grandfather all talking about, and having, sex. The lengthy, fumbling fornications (thankfully there’s no incest) might be intimate; they might even, from one perspective, have a dry wit. If you skew your thinking just so, they may be a commentary on the normality of human desire.
Les contes de la nuit (Tales of the night) DIRECTED BY Michel Ocelot Belgium | 2011 | 84 mn | Animation, children VOICES Julien Beramis, Marine Griset, Michel Elias This collection of several short films by Michel Ocelot (Azur and Asmar, Kirikou) is proof that 2D animation is alive and well and still has the porwer to enchant all audiences. Every night, and old film technician, a young girl and a boy meet in a deserted film theater to invent new stories and tales. Using scisoors, paper, costumes, they let they imagination run wild and create a fantastic and magical world of princes, ogres and magic. A visually stunning experience for all ages.
La delicatesse ( Delicacy) DIRECTED BY David and Stéphane Foenkinos Belgium | 2011 | 108 mn | Romantic comedy CAST Audrey Tautou, François Damiens, Bruno Todeschini
Audrey Tautou (Amélie) plays Nathalie, who is thrown for a loop when her beloved husband dies unexpectedly. She becomes a workaholic, plunging herself into a vaguely defined office job and limiting her emotional life to fending off the unwanted advances of her boss. But one day, for reasons only Nathalie knows — viewers are left to guess — she throws herself at a somewhat cloddish Swedish co-worker named Markus (François Damiens), and the rest of the movie consists of their tentative, and somewhat confused courtship.
Entre les bras ( Step up to the plate)
DIRECTED BY Paul Lacoste France | 2012 | 86 mn | documentary CAST Michel Bras, Sébastien Bras
French chef Michel Bras, one of the most influential chefs in the world, has decided to hand over his renowned 3-Michelin-Star restaurant to his son Sébastien. Having worked with his father for 15 years, Sébastien is ready. But it's not easy to take over the family business when your father is a master in his field. Filmed in the gorgeous Aubrac region in the South of France, home to the Bras family for generations, Step Up to the Plate offers a rare glimpse into the Bras' culinary process while capturing one of the most closely watched transitions in the world of haute cuisine..
La nouvelle guerre des boutons (war of the buttons)
Christophe Barratier’s film retells a story well known in France. (It’s based on a 1912 novel by Louis Pergaud). Boys from neighboring towns fight a turf war, and to the victors go the spoils: buttons and shoelaces. The vanquished slink off, holding up their pants. More or less child’s play at first, the war becomes darker and more violent. Setting this telling in occupied France in the spring of 1944, Mr. Barratier contrasts the button war with the deadly serious adult one going on around the children.
Holy motors DIRECTED BY Leos Carax France | 2012 | 115 mn | Drama, Sci-fi CAST Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue
Over the course of a single day, Monsieur Oscar travels by limousine around Paris to a series of nine "appointments," transforming into new characters or incarnations at each stop. Fetched in the morning by Céline, his trusty chauffeur on this surreal journey, Oscar begins the day as a captain of industry. Then he becomes a gypsy crone, begging for spare change on a bridge over the Seine. Inside a digital production facility, he’s a ninja warrior transformed by cutting-edge technology into a reptilian sex god. Next he’s a gibberish-spewing troglodyte who kidnaps a fashion model from a photo shoot in Père-Lachaise cemetery, ferrying her to his underground lair in the sewers. Then he’s the melancholy father of a teenage daughter, followed by a shadowy assassin sent to kill his own doppelgänger, a dying old man, and finally a thwarted lover revisiting a flame from his past atop a decaying Right Bank department store next to the Pont-Neuf. Monster movie, film noir, romantic drama, musical, crime thriller, futuristic sex fantasia HOLY MOTORS is all of these and, then again, none of these. It is a ravishing, shape-shifting, fever dream of becoming, unraveling and starting all over again.
Les invisbles (invisibles) DIRECTED BY Sébastien Lifshitz France | 2012 | 115 mn | Gay documentary CAST Yann and Pierre, Bernard et Jacques, Thérèse, Catherine and Elizabeth
This film traces the evolution of French society from the post-war years to the present through the able of homosexual’ lives. Men and women who have nothing in common except their homosexuality and their decision to live openly at a tome when society has rejected them. They have struggled, desired, lived and made love. Today they tell us about their pioneering lives and how they navigated the desire to remain ordinary with the need to liberate themselves in order to thrive. They were fearless. Brilliantly shot, this documentary breaks free of the victim oriented spin on homosexuality and instead he film pays tribute to all those who, by simply living freely, paved the way to the freedom we enjoy today.
Magic Lantern Presents: Resisting Paradise Directed by Barbara Hammer USA |2003 | 80 mn (program 102 mn)| Experimental
A provocative inquiry into the role of the artist during wartime,Resisting Paradise was begun in 1999 while the acclaimed American avant-garde filmmaker was an artist-in-residency at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France. Though Hammer originally went to Cassis to study the light of Provence (famous for enthralling generations of French painters), the outbreak of the war in Kosovo quickly led her to question the value of such abstract pursuits. Projecting this concern backward through history, Resisting Paradise turns to the lives of Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard to examine the divergent practices of artists and Resistance fighters living in the south of France during World War II.
Screening with three experimental shorts made in Cassis by artists affiliated with the Camargo Foundation: -The Canaries (Jerome Hill, 1969), 16mm, color, sound, 4 min. -Cassis (Jonas Mekas, 1966), 16mm, color, sound, 4.5 min. -Fall (3 Parts) (Leighton Pierce, 2002), video, color, sound, 13 min.
Polisse DIRECTED BY Maïwenn France | 2011 | 127 mn | Drama CAST Karin Viard, Joey Starr, Marian Foïs, Maïwenn
Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for 13 César Awards, POLISSE follows the daily lives of a tight-knit team of men and women working in the Child Protection Unit of the Parisian police. Basing her richly textured script on real child investigation cases, writer- director/actor Maïwenn has gathered an accomplished ensemble cast of French actors who convey the emotional strain of the unit's work with gritty realism. They not only deal with the stress of their jobs but the inevitable fall-out in their personal lives - breakdowns, divorce and adulterous relations within the force. In between, there are frequent flashes of humor as the team attempts to diffuse daily realities. As the cases, confessions and interrogations pile up, the squad members have only each other as support as they face an uphill battle against both criminals and bureaucracy.
Le sens de l’humour (Sense of Humor) DIRECTED BY Emile Gaudreault Canada | 2011 | 110 mn | Dark comedy CAST Michel Côté, Louis-José Houde, Benoît Brière, Anne Dorval
Luc and Marco are two second-class stand-up touring bars and clubs in a remote part of Québec. Every night, Marco chooses a victim in the audience and heaps jokes that soon become insulting. While performing in the small village of Anse-au-Pic, that victim is Roger Gendron, a seemingly inept short-order cook who moonlights as a ruthless serial killer and who does not appreciated being made fun of. The pair gets promptly kidnapped and is about to be killed when they strike a deal with their captor: in exchange for their lives, they will tech him self-assurance and humor so that he can seduce the woman of his dreams…
Starbuck DIRECTED BY Ken Scott Canada | 2011 | 109 mn | Comedy
CAST Patrick Huard, Antoine Bertrand, Julie LeBreton
Just when David Wosniak (Patrick Huard) decides to finally take control of his life, this eternal 42 year old teenager discovers that he's the biological father of 533 children. Suddenly, his life is much more complicated than he anticipated as his identity is about to be made public as the sperm bank where he donated for years is being sued by some of his children. It is the most successful Quebec-made movie within the province in 2011 and one of the very first to enjoy an international career.
Trois mondes (Tthree worlds) DIRECTED BY Catherine Corsini France | 2012 | 100 mn | Drama CAST Raphaël Personnaz, Clotilde Hesme, Arta Dobroshi
Al, a young man from a modest background. is about to marry his boss' daughter and succeed him as the head of a car dealership. One night, while coming back from his bachelor party, he becomes involved in a hit-and-run accident, urged by his two childhood friends in the car with him to flee the scene. The next day, wrecked with guilt, Al decides to inquire about his victim. What he does not know is that Juliette, a young woman, has witnessed the entire accident from her balcony. She is the one who had 911 and helped the victim's wife, Vera, a Moldavian illegal-immigrant. But when Juliette recognizes Al as the reckless driver in the hospital corridor, she is unable to denounce him.
La vierge, les coptes et moi Tthe Virgin, the Copts and Me) 02/23 at 2:15 p.m. and 02/28 at 9:15 p.m. DIRECTED BY Abdel Messeh rance, Egypt | 2012 | 85 mn | Documentary, comedy CAST Siham Abdel Meseeh, Namir Abdel Meseeh
Namir goes to Egypt to film a documentary on the miraculous apparition of the Holy Virgin within the Coptic community of a mall village outside of Cairo. Sounds simple enough. But when family, friends and events start changing his plans, Namir must rethink his original concept and change the tone and style to a film-within-a-film where he is both director and subject. Against the wishes of his mother, “played” by the filmmaker’s real mother, he decides to actually stage an apparition of the Virgin Mary and starts mixing documentary, autobiography and fiction to hilarious effects.
Vous n’avez encore rien vu! (You ain’t seen nothing yet)
DIRECTED BY Alain Resnais France | 2012 | 115 mn | Comedy CAST Mathieu Amalric, Michel Piccoli, Sabine Azéma, Denis Podalydès
Legendary director Alain Resnais' latest film, based on two works by the playwright Jean Anouilh, it opens with a who's-who of French acting royalty) being summoned to the reading of a late playwright's last will and testament. There, the playwright (appears on a TV screen from beyond the grave and asks his erstwhile collaborators to evaluate a recording of an experimental theater company performing his Eurydice - a play they themselves all appeared in over the years. But as the video unspools, instead of watching passively, these seasoned thespians begin acting out the text alongside their youthful avatars, looking back into the past rather like mythic Orpheus himself. Gorgeously shot by cinematographer Eric Gautier on stylized sets that recall the French poetic realism of the 1930s, The film is an alternately wry and wistful valentine to actors and the art of performance from a director long fascinated by the intersection of life, theater and cinema.